I have come to realise that everyone has an opinion about Shoreditch, and truthfully, I don’t really care what anyone else thinks. I just know that there is SUCH A LOT TO EAT there, that I would feel incredibly sorry for you if you are the starving artist sort that this area seems to attract. You know, the kind that doesn’t really appreciate food unless it’s vegan – in which case it’s debatable whether or not it is actually food (half-joking) – lives on a diet of cigarettes and coffee, and skulks around the corners, traveling everywhere under a cloud of judgment, ever ready to rain on everyone else’s parade…
I am so glad that my friends could not be further from that. We bounce around everywhere, fall about in giggling fits, and we dress like homeless people, not by choice, in that carefully-crafted, uber-trendy way, but because that is our natural state. And we eat. A whole lot.
Prior to this particular visit to Jubo, my original plan had been to check out the Korean taco pop-up run by Kimchinary at the Catch Bar. Unfortunately, we were starving and needed something super substantial, and the thought of fried chicken and slow-cooked pork belly buns completely won out.
You know what the best sort of fried chicken in the world is? Korean fried chicken. Hands down. And the Korean fried chicken here is a wonderful representation, I must say. My friend, H, loves fried chicken so much that she even has an incredibly annoying fried chicken song which she sings pre-chicken, during-chicken and post-chicken. So the fact that she loves this place should be endorsement enough. In fact, we all love it, really.
Inside, it looks like a typical Shoreditch bar + kitchen. It shares a space with the Bedroom Bar – which I fully intend to check out once this February Prohibition is over and I feel strong enough to stomach alcohol again – although the two are kept separate. At night, it’s dim except for the bright neon lights, there’s a terrific noise all around, and the general atmosphere is bright and lively, buzzing with activity.
We were able to get a table almost immediately despite it being quite packed.
I highly recommend getting the Chicken Dinner Platter, even if it’s just the 2 of you eating. It’s so good!!! You can choose between soy garlic or hot & sweet. We got a mixture. You also get to choose 3 sides from an assortment of kimchi, pickles, kimchi slaw, gunmandu dumplings, doenjang soup, chips and rice, so we went with the soup, as it was cold and wet outside, the kimchi and the dumplings.
The soup was the first thing to arrive. ‘Doenjang’ is fermented bean paste, so this was essentially a Korean miso soup. Unfortunately, it was rather bland, so I definitely wouldn’t order it again myself.
Then our glorious platter.
Let’s talk about the sides first.
The dumplings were deep-fried, and while I do ordinarily believe that deep-frying has a magical transformative ability, I would’ve much preferred my dumplings boiled, steamed or pan-fried. Not least because most of the joys of eating a dumpling lies in eating the dumpling “skin”, and deep-frying them just robs them of their chewy doughiness and flavor. So I probably wouldn’t order this again either.
The kimchi was good. If you are unfamiliar with kimchi, it’s a Korean side-dish of pickled, fermented cabbage, intensely sour and spicy, very appetizing and also (apparently) very healthful. We liked this as it wasn’t too sour or salty, although it may be just a tad spicy for some.
Now let’s talk about the chicken.
Whether you happened to grab a wing or a strip in the first-come-first-serve, dog-eat-dog, every-man-for-himself scramble and tussle over the chicken, it’s all delicious, the only difference being the absence of bones in the chicken strips.The chicken has a wonderfully crisp crust, and it’s so damn tasty, the flavors having penetrated right through the meat, which still retains its moisture and juiciness. Both the soy garlic and hot & sweet are really good but I personally preferred the former because it had a deeper, subtler flavor, and appealed more to my Asian palate. The hot & sweet is like the extroverted cousin: much bolder and stronger in flavor, makes a great first impression, perfect in small doses but wearisome after a while. (Okay, I veeeery long while.) Bottom-line is that both are good so you should really check it out so you can decide for yourself!
I had to try the fried chicken roll just because it was on the menu.
Everyone else really liked this but I was quite disappointed. It’s my fault though. I shouldn’t have ordered this because I know myself so well, and know that I tend to have super high expectations for fried chicken burgers because McSpicy has really set the bar far too high… HA! I’ll bet you never thought you’d hear me say that a McDonalds menu item is the industry standard but it’s true: the McSpicy is truly the paragon of fried chicken burgers for me. The thing is, this burger had such promise, what with the kimchi slaw and gochujang mayo thrown into the mix. Unfortunately, it fell flat for me, and it didn’t help that the chicken fillet was far too small for my liking – smaller than the roll even. Ahhh I’m sad now. :(
But on to better things!
I may have mentioned that H loves fried chicken. She also has a bit of a thing for pork – the fattier the better – so we had to get this. Now, it was good. The Chinese steamed bun was lovely and soft, the pork belly was tender, and the hoisin and sriracha sauces made it altogether very appetizing, though I would recommend you ask them to put the sriracha on the side instead if you’re afraid of spice. I think it’s hard for us to judge though, seeing as we grew up eating kong bak pau, which is done with proper Chinese braised pork belly, very fatty, soft and ridiculously tasty, with an unctuous, thick soy sauce. Also, I’m sure you never thought you would ever hear anyone say this, but English pork belly is NOT FATTY ENOUGH for my Chinese tastes. There. I’ve said it. Judge all you want. I love fat.
I definitely recommend you check out Jubo soon. We have yet to try the ‘Ssam”, which is 1kg of steak or slow-roasted pork, served together with lots of wonderful condiments (which I assume is for you to wrap in lettuce leaves ala Korean barbecue), great for a DIY-dinner for 4. You must book in advance for that though.
Otherwise, there’s always chicken.
68 Rivington Street
London EC2A 3AY
Tuesday to Thursday: 6 pm — 10.30 pm
Friday & Saturday: 6 pm — 11.00 pm
This isn’t the first time I’ve talked about Salvation Jane (see my post here) but I think it may be one of my favorite breakfast/brunch places in the Shoreditch area.
I had to branch out and diversify on this particular occasion because I was making a banana chocolate cake that very night, which meant that toasted banana bread was out.
And this was in.
I really liked this dish. It was a wonderful mix of really great flavors. The eggy aroma and slightly sandy texture of the courgette bread, the intensely savoury halloumi with its characteristic bite and chewiness, and that sweet, slightly sticky chilli jam. I think I may start ordering this as my savoury option next time. It’s also a great choice for vegetarians.
But because I am anything but a vegetarian, I added a side of bacon, with a pot of maple syrup for dunking.
H went for something sweet.
The French toast at Salvation Jane and Lantana is always good and I like that they change up the accompaniments every once in a while. This was great, as always – the French toast had a great crust and was soft, fluffy and eggy – but I am not a fan of cherries myself.
W had the muesli which I thought was really yummy. The muesli itself had coconut in it, and together with the cool, creamy vanilla yoghurt and warm slices of pear (which I bravely tried for all of you), soft and extra sweet from being baked, this was really a bowlful of goodness. But because my friends are greedy like me, I’m sure she was hungry before long, because say what you will, muesli is not filling. In fact, we ended up ordering in from Deliverance just a few hours after brunch. Omg I’ve just noticed that we experienced both ‘Salvation’ and ‘Deliverance’ that day HAHAHA OH HOLY DAY!!!!!!!
But anyway, Salvation Jane is a great spot for breakfast/brunch, well worth a visit.
Unit 2, 1 Oliver’s Yard
55 City Rd.
Mon to Fri: 8 to 1130AM
Weekend brunch hours:
Sat & Sun: 9AM to 330PM
This is another place that I’ve also mentioned before on the site. (See post here) This time, our main purpose in visiting was because we knew how much W loves sweet potato fries, and Hache does an amazing rendition.
You all know how much I love lamb burgers and I usually go for that here, but I believe I had just had an overload of lamb a few days prior to this visit, so I decided to go for one of my favorite combinations: steak and blue cheese.
Burgers should always be served on brioche, so I’m glad that brioche is the default choice at Hache, although you may ask for ciabatta instead, or, God forbid, get it ‘low-calorie’, i.e. bunless, in which case you better be deathly allergic to bread or we are not friends.
I think most of the burgers at Hache are really quite good. There’s a pretty extensive selection, so one can choose from beef steak, sirloin steak, fish, chicken, pulled pork, duck, vegetarian…
What I really love here, though, are the sweet potato fries.
If you like sweet potato fries, you would love these, I promise you that. Each serving comes in its own fryer basket, and for £3.50 I think the portion-size is pretty generous. Super crisp on the outside, warm and fluffy on the inside, I am such a fan of sweet potato fries and their vague root vegetabley sweetness, and especially loved them with the slivers of blue cheese that I unceremoniously tore off in goopy chunks from my burger. Sweet potato fries and blue cheese make for one heck of a combination. Now I only wish they had some sort of blue cheese dip or dressing to go along with these.
I don’t normally order desserts when I come to Hache. But that was until I discovered that they have recently started doing STP!!!!!!!!!!!
Unfortunately, this was quite average, although I would never say no to a stp, good or bad, because stp is my kryptonite and I have zero integrity. The gingerbread ice-cream was disappointingly bereft of gingerbread flavor, lacking the warming spices one would expect upon reading the description.
I don’t think it’ll be fair for me to comment on this seeing as I’m not really in love with banoffee pie but I’ll simply say it’s as good as a banoffee pies go, and it comes in a whopping great slice.
147-149 Curtain Road
London EC2A 3QE
Mon-Thurs: 12PM to 1030PM
Fri & Sat: 12PM to 11PM
Sun: 12PM to 10PM
H has promised to take me to Whitecross Market for ages and I finally, finally checked it out yesterday. I must say that I really enjoyed it and am likely to return again soon. It’s located along Whitecross street, just off Old Street, and while it’s admittedly a lot smaller than other food markets, it’s still worth a visit if you’re in the area.
We kicked off our visit with some Brazilian skewers.
The skewers are grilled fresh on the spot and served to you hot, drizzled with chilli sauce, which will make for extremely messy eats, but we weren’t too bothered about that. While both the chicken and the beef were very moist and juicy, with a wonderful charred aroma, we both preferred the beef, which was done to a perfect medium-rare – the stall holder actually asked us how he wanted it cooked, and let us check the redness of the meat before he took it off the grill. That’s the best thing about food markets, I find, that you get to watch your food being prepared, and that you get to be very much involved in the process.
Then H decided to take me to one of her favorite stalls, which is the burger stall manned by the sweetest, loveliest elderly couple. It’s apparently really popular and by the time we arrived at the stall, there was only the one burger left, and we had to get that sliced up in a wrap because they no longer had burger buns. They really take their own sweet time crafting your burger but it’s such a wonderful thing to watch!
They were unfortunately a little heavy-handed with the rosemary on the wedges, which ended up tasting a bit soapy. But moving swiftly on!
There’s apparently always a long queue at the Middle-Eastern stall and we had initially almost given it a miss on account of this but we slipped in at the end and got 8 loose falafels for the cool price of £3.
These were freshly-fried and served with tahini and chilli sauce. Very tasty, smoky and quite spicy, which I loved.
Another extremely popular stall is the Indian stall. We went right at the end, so we didn’t have to queue, and really only made up our mind when we were bribed with some free chicken. We got a large box which he crammed full of vegetable pilau rice, chicken curry and grilled chicken.
This was a deceivingly large amount of food. We got slightly worried when we saw the enthusiasm with which the stall holder was really piling it all in because it looked like it wasn’t going to fit. But the man simply popped the lid on and tamped it all in. It was magical. And it was actually really quite good.
This place tends to attract the young working crowd from the Barbican area and can get quite crowded but is definitely worth checking out if you happen to be in the area and want some cheap, filling eats. I myself will return at some point because I’ve yet to try the Vietnamese stall, the Thai stall and the Mexican stall, all of which are really popular.
1 Whitecross Street
London EC1V 9AB
None of the sweet goods at the market really appealed to us so we ended up dropping by Timber Yard on our way back to pick up some coffee and sugary treats.
Timber Yard is one of the kajillion coffee shops in Shoreditch. Inside, it’s bright and airy, and they definitely put the considerably small space to good use, as it does not feel cramped or stuffy in the least. It’s very popular for studying. In fact, most of the people there appeared to be students.
We got a long black and an iced tea to go. I don’t pretend to know a lot about coffee but you know, you can taste a good one when you encounter one, and I really liked
We had some difficulty deciding on which sweet treats we wanted but eventually narrowed it down to two we really had to get.
This is a cookie for greedy people but sometimes, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. This was alright but it wasn’t anything spectacular.
And we opened up our second paper bag only to be greeted by the hottest mess ever.
We hadn’t realised that the brownie had a liquid middle so we were very pleasantly surprised by the delicious brown pool of hazelnut praline that had spilt out of the brownie cup, but hey, who were we to complain? ;) ;)
It was more of a ‘blondie’ than a ‘brownie’ as such, but technicalities aside, this was so dense that it bordered almost on hard and had a dry, crumbly texture, which is really not what you expect in a ‘brownie’ at all. But okay. I can look past all that because that hazelnut praline was BEAUTEOUS.
61-67 Old Street,
London EC1V 9HW
Mon-Fri: 8am-8pm Sat-Sun:
WORKSHOP COFFEE CO.
Today was only the second time I have ever visited the Workshop, my virgin visit being quite a while back in my first year. It’s located on Clerkenwell Road and is quite non-descript from the outside but inside, it’s actually surprisingly big, taking up several floors. I loved how the focal point on the ground floor was the huge coffee bar, which really was noticeably larger than the coffee bars at most other places, laden with delicious-looking bakes and staffed by several baristas running around behind the counter. But that should come as no surprise, seeing as this place really is all about the coffee.
E and I arrived just before 1030AM and although it was already pretty busy, given that it was a Saturday morning, we were allocated our table for 5 almost immediately.
The menu is not exactly extensive, but pretty well-varied. There were some really great choices, such as the toasted banana bread with date & orange jam, espresso mascarpone and hazelnuts (£6)… Braised beans, salted ricotta, lemon, mint and truffled mascarpone (£7)… Grilled asparagus, smoked salmon, poached egg, truffled mascarpone, corn bread (£10.50)…
You can see why I had some difficulties making up my mind.
But then there was also a burger.
And I like having a burger before 12PM just because I can.
I wasn’t expecting very much at all seeing as this was a brunch burger but I was quite pleasantly surprised. A nicely charred, moist and juicy burger, sandwiched in fluffy, eggy brioche. Not the best burger by any means at all, but very fresh and tasty. The fried potatoes, where crispy, were good as well.
I know you guys don’t really want to read about a brunch burger so I do apologize, and promise to come back again to try out the other more “breakfasty” items on the menu. It’s just… I really can’t think clearly when burgers are involved. But if it’s anything to go by, the rest of the girls seemed to enjoy their food.
27 Clerkenwell Road
London EC1M 5RN
Monday: 7:30am – 6:00pm
Tuesday: 7:30am – 10:00pm
Wednesday: 7:30am – 10:00pm
Thursday: 7:30am – 10:00pm
Friday: 7:30am – 10:00pm
Saturday: 8:00am – 6:00pm
Sunday: 8:00am – 6:00pm